The Nellie Mae Education Foundation supports the people and organizations who contribute to making our public schools the best they can be—including, teachers and administrators, policymakers and thought leaders.

Revere High School


By 2018, 63% of all jobs will require some kind of postsecondary education and training.*

In order to move forward to strong sustainable futures, New England’s communities must depend on a well-educated, engaged citizenry. Today, most agree that a high school education is not enough.  In order to thrive, our region must aim for every learner to continue their education beyond secondary school in some form of high quality, post-secondary education. In order to do this successfully, students must graduate with the knowledge, skills, and mindsets necessary to succeed in life after high school.
*(The Future of the U.S. Workforce, Achieve, Sept. 2012).

Build Public Understanding & Demand

The goal of this initiative is to build stronger public awareness and understanding of innovative approaches to public schooling, while cultivating public support and demand. Grants under this area target both grassroots (community engagement and organizing) and grass tops (advocating policymakers, enlisting influencers) in building awareness, support and demand for student-centered approaches to learning. This initiative also seeks to shift the public narrative around public education from one that focuses on individual achievement and success, to one that emphasizes the public good that education plays in the building of communities and engaged stakeholders. See our grantmaking in action

Build Educator Ownership, Leadership, and Capacity

To implement student-centered approaches to learning with rigor and reliability, tools and resources must be developed and utilized. Grants under this initiative focus on building educator capacity through projects like teacher and principal fellowships, aiming to empower educators to implement high quality, rigorous and equitable student-centered practices in their classrooms and districts. Additionally, this initiative focuses on developing instructional and professional tools to support educators in the implementation of student-centered approaches to learning. See our grantmaking in action 

Develop Effective Systems Designs

A cornerstone of the Foundation’s mission is to promote the transformation of education systems towards student-centered approaches. This initiative focuses on reimagining school districts – including grants to pilot redesigns of central office structures, governance models, and digital badging and assessment. Additionally, this initiative includes supporting the development of favorable policy conditions (federal, state and local) to support and help scale student-centered approaches and build a culture of innovation and accelerate improvement in college readiness for all. See our grantmaking in action

Advance Quality and Rigor of Student-Centered Practices

This initiative focuses on building a research base of evidence supporting student-centered learning through evaluations of student-centered practices in high schools, researcher-practitioner collaborations, and establishing criteria for what it takes to put high quality, student-centered learning into practice. Work in this initiative includes projects such as developing research and practitioner networks to identify common problems in implementing student-centered learning and developing innovative approaches to solving such problems and building a collaborative of researchers engaged in building a robust body of evidence on student-centered approaches. See our grantmaking in action